Carlisle United took their good early season form to Sincil Bank on Saturday afternoon to face newly promoted Lincoln City for what was always going to be a difficult game.
It was a home sell-out for the newly promoted Imps and they grabbed their first win of the season courtesy of some wayward finishing from a Carlisle side who could have been out of sight had they put some of their chances away.
United started brightly but Hope was caught offside as he volleyed from the edge of the box in an early promising attack from the visitors.
Lincoln created their first chance from a long throw on ten minutes as they sent their big men forward. Waterfall jumped to meet it but his header had too much on it and it dropped wide of the upright.
A nod down from Bennett from a deep Miller free kick left Lambe with half a yard as the game started to ebb and flow but he rushed his volley and it bent well wide.
There were loud appeals for a penalty as Green and Ellis tussled for a ball over the top but the referee took one look and waved play on, much to the annoyance of the home supporters.
A Carlisle break midway through the half brought them a corner as Hope and Bennett combined well during the build up, and the delivery led to a long range volley from Liddle which zipped into the advertising hoardings behind the goal.
United broke again as Grainger cleared from the edge of his own area and another corner caused problems as Devitt found Parkes. He nodded it back across goal but Waterfall was there to hook it away.
The home side scored a goal from nowhere just after the half hour when they somehow came away with the ball as Parkes and Grainger tried to clear their lines. It eventually rolled to Alex Woodyard and he made no mistake as he swept a 22-yard screamer past Bonham's dive.
Carlisle should have levelled things up moments later when Miller bent a beauty of a cross into the area. Bennett and Devitt lunged at it but neither could get the touch it needed.
United showed more good approach play as they passed their way through midfield and a dipping cross from Jones had Hope interested. Eardley nipped across just in time to head it behind and to avert the looming danger.
The visitors fashioned an even better opening just before the break when Devitt and Hope combined to leave Jones with a chance to shoot. A deflection from his 17-yard rasper made it difficult for Farman to deal with, and the keeper looked on in horror as it spooned up off his shin. Bennett had the goal at his mercy but he put too much on the header and was extremely disappointed to see it pop onto the roof of the net.
There were chances at both ends within seconds of the restart with Hope blocked as he went through for United, and Eardley smashed one over as he tried his luck for City.
Parkes then robbed possession in midfield and strode forward and Farman had to tip the ball over as it threatened to drop beneath his bar. Bennett missed another good opportunity from the resulting corner as he muscled his way into space. He got to it but he couldn't keep his header on target.
It was all about Carlisle and Hope was next to wheel away in disappointment when he got on the end of a wicked delivery from Grainger. He had space but he sent his header high over the bar.
The Cumbrians survived two goalmouth scrambles as Lincoln attacked again but Bonham came out on top on both occasions - the second of which left him to scoop the ball off the floor as a header from Green smacked into his chest.
Carlisle were made to pay for their missed chances just after the hour when Lambe came under pressure having received a tight pass from Parkes. Rhead came away it, passed it to Woodyard, and he kept his cool to find the back of the net.
A bad day at the office became much worse on 66 minutes when Parkes felled Green inside the area. The big defender was given his marching orders when a second yellow was produced and he could only watch as Rhead stepped up to score from the spot.
Reggie Lambe grabbed his third of the season from an impossibly tight angle with 15 minutes left to play, but Lincoln reasserted their authority when substitute Billy Knott scored the goal of the game with a fine finish from distance.
Lincoln City - Woodyard (31, 62), Rhead (67 pen), Knott (86)
Carlisle United - Lambe (75)
Carlisle United - Bennett (45), Parkes (57 & 66 - sent off)
Lincoln City - Farman, Long, Waterfall, Rhead (Palmer 70), Green (Anderson 73), Maguire-Drew (Knott 55), Bostwick, Eardley, Raggett, Arnold, Woodyard. Subs - Vickers, Habergham, Whitehouse, Dickie.
Carlisle United - Bonham, T Miller, Ellis, Parkes, Grainger, Lambe, Liddle (S Miller 68), Jones, Devitt, Hope (Adams 68), Bennett (Cosgrove 68). Subs - George, Joyce, Kennedy, Brown.
Referee - Eddie Ilderton
Attendance - 8,345 (616 away fans)